Former General Secretary of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Sir Roy Trotman has urged trade unions not to be overly perturbed by the “inane babblings of the uninformed and those who would want to be noticed”.
Sir Roy made the stern comments as he hit back at a recent charge levelled by Minister of Industry Donville Inniss that unions were “getting away with too much foolishness for too long” and it was time to stop being afraid of them.
“It is not too long ago that I remember that those same mouthings were babblings from animals that babble. I don’t fool myself regarding the need that there will be for those same voices to be turned and perhaps sooner than they will expect.
“So if one chooses to forget where one comes from, only because of one’s anxiety to reach the top of the ladder so as to be able to push it down, then we just say they have our greatest sympathy for they do not know that hell awaits such actions,” he said.
The trade unionist was delivering remarks to members of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) attending the Grace Thompson Memorial Teacher’s Professional Day activity held at the National Union of Public Workers, Dalkeith Road, St Michael headquarters this morning.
He urged the gathering not to become distressed, disturbed or removed from singleness
of purpose that must come from doing good work. He encouraged BSTU’s members to continue to grow strong and to give support to the union’s leadership.
“Outside of myself, I cannot remember in the last 30 years the kind of vicious assaults that have been launched on any trade union leader as have been launched on your president [Mary Redman]. I ask you to hold her hand; to hold her hand as soldiers together in a struggle that will have no end where we have greed, where we have know alls who believe that they hold the future of all of us in their hand because they have been given title or office.
“I urge you to hold her hand and that of her committee members because this battle does not go away in a term. Only those who are prepared to go the distance will be those who will be able to look back and say we have fought a good fight, we have finished our course,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, Redman remarked that union members must be committed to not letting Government ministers “get away with foolishness for too long”.
She declared that the “arrogance, insensitivity and political short-sightedness” of such a statement, from a minister whose Government formed part of a social partnership and is a signatory to successive protocols which speak to mutual respect, dialogue, consultation and co-operation, spoke volumes.
“When statements are made that reflect such blatant disregard and disrespect for workers and their rights, a group that makes up the vast majority of the population of this country, it should underscore the need for persons to be even more supportive of and committed to their unions. The unions are the entities that will have to protect against autocratic and dictatorial mind sets like those,” Redman stressed.
The BSTU honoured Sir Roy for his leadership and mentorship of its members as it relates to dealing with industrial matters over the years. The union gave Sir Roy an award and a bottle of wine and wished him a happy retirement.